“If more of us valued food and cheer and song over hoarded gold it would be a merrier world.” – Thorin Oakenshield / JRR Tolkein
This quote was spoken by Thorin Oakenshield, the leader of the Dwarves from JRR Tolkein’s fantasy novel, The Hobbit. These words were spoken upon Thorin’s deathbed as he begged forgiveness of his dear friend Bilbo, with whom he had quarreled mightily over a certain jewel from a treasure hoard not long before.
In his apology Thorin was praising Bilbo for his kind disposition and compassionate nature, stating that if more folks valued the intangible things such as good company, relationships, laughter and love, such as Bilbo does, that the world would be a better place.
Coming across this quote and noticing it for what it was for the first time in many readings of the Hobbit, I was struck by the truth in this fictional characters dying words. Too many of us are moved by greed and selfishness. We value personal gain and accomplishments to inflate our ego when the most beautiful parts of life are taken for granted. How much better a world would we have if instead of chasing selfish goals, we took the time to just be happy and appreciate the present and those with whom we share it.